I’ve really got it going on, why can’t I get a man?

Dear Chat Daddy,

I really need your help. At the age of 23, I couldn’t get enough of being in the streets and as a result, was sent to prison. During that time, my three children were infants and I missed out on the most important years of their lives.

I’ve been released now for six months and I am trying to rebuild my life and develop a close, loving relationship with my children. I have found stable employment, a studio apartment and I am also going to school part-time. However, I have recently discovered that my children’s mother is allowing another man, who has a criminal record and has been in and out of jail, to raise them and, truth be told, their behavior has been outlandish and extremely unruly. I do not like the idea of him being there and I feel as if he is a negative influence on their development. She has no problem allowing this man into their lives, but it’s always an issue for me to see them and get back into their good graces. I realized that what I did was wrong and I cannot take it back. Chat Daddy, how do I convince her that I’m sincere in wanting to be a part of their lives as their real father?

-A Father Wanting To Step Up

Dear A Father Wanting To Step Up,

First of all, I would like to commend you for turning your life around and getting everything back on track. It is admirable that a Black man can reestablish himself and be a productive part of society. How unfortunate that your children’s mother has allowed this type of man to raise your children and not permit you to regain a relationship with them. My suggestion is to definitely have a conversation (heart-toheart and eye-to-eye) with her without any type of hostility and work toward an agreement. It seems hypocritical of her to deny you a chance to have a relationship with them. Your past is exactly that%uFFFDthe past. It may also be a good idea for you, her and the children to attend family counseling. Doing so will put everything into perspective and also begin the healing process. However, if she still won’t allow you the chance to reconnect with them, know that you do have rights. You may want to seek counsel with an attorney or family court services that can assist you in this matter. But, the two of you should come together and work out some parenting strategies and goals that will curtail the unruly behavior. Here’s to you obtaining a new life and allowing time to heal all wounds. Be encouraged.

Dear Chat Daddy,

I am a 34-year-old professional Black woman who has it all together: career, independence and wonderful friendships to nourish my life. There is one problem. I have been unable to find a man who is decent, professional and respectful. A month ago, a good friend of mine suggested that I try Internet dating. After being reluctant, I eventually gave it a try. My experience with this has not been a good one because I am finding out that a lot of lunatics are online. I always run into men who have some sort of emotional and mental problem and it is very discouraging. I am beginning to feel as if there will never be someone there to hold me at night and provide the intimacy that I so deserve. How can I find a decent and healthy companion to share my success with?

-The Echoes Of My Lonely Heart

Dear The Echoes Of My Lonely Heart,

Sweetheart, these things do happen. In today’s society, most Black professionals are single. It is unfortunate that you have run into some bad apples in your experience. It is essential to always protect yourself when it comes to meeting people online today. I suggest you seek more interesting and innovative ways of meeting new people who share the same core morals and values as you. It is understandable that you want to be in a relationship, but sometimes, we can allow the desire to find companionship to consume our everyday lives. Sister, don’t give up or allow this to discourage you from thinking that you will one day have a loving, great relationship. Are you involved with any various community or social activities? That would be a great opportunity for you to meet and network with new people. Sign up for a dance class. Join the neighborhood gym. These are just a few examples for you to consider. I know it is difficult at times to not think about, but trust me, love will indeed find you! Here’s to you utilizing this time to further learn about yourself and finding new and healthy associations. Be encouraged.

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